Film screenings have been held around Hong Kong to mark the nine-month anniversary of the anti-extradition law protest movement.

Apple Daily’s protest documentary “Battle Against Tyranny” was screened at over 20 locations on Thursday to mark June 12, 2019, when police deployed tear gas and rubber bullets against protesters occupying roads around the legislature.

Community screening in Tin Shui Wai. Photo: Rachel Wong/HKFP.

Protests over the now-axed extradition bill have reduced in frequency this year amid the coronavirus outbreak. Over several months, they morphed into sometimes violent displays of dissent against police behaviour, amid anger over Beijing’s encroachment.

Handmade light boxes with messages in support of the pro-democracy movement. Photo: Rachel Wong/HKFP.

The documentary recorded key moments from the movement – including when protesters stormed into the legislature last July 1, as well as the siege on Polytechnic University.

The description for the film read: “It was a year to unite the valiant protesters and the ‘peaceful, rational, non-violence’ protesters, and a year to shed tears for the future and for the fellow Hongkongers. ‘Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times’, the cry echoes in our mind. We will never forget the scenes of police brutality.”

Community screening in Tin Shui Wai. Photo: Rachel Wong/HKFP.

Yuen Long District Councillor Willis Fong from pro-democracy group Action18 said the size of the crowd was larger than he had expected: “I thought people would be hesitant to come out but at least 50-60 turned up.”

The screening was followed by an open-floor sharing session.

Willis Fong. Photo: Rachel Wong/HKFP.

Fong said the aim of community screenings was to engage everyone and give a platform for people to share their thoughts about the movement. “[Politicians] have chances to convey messages at the [District] Council and show our faces in front of a camera with media coverage. But as we return to our community [on] occasions like today, it is a good time for everyone to voice their feelings.”

He added that interacting with residents allows district councillors to reflect upon their performance.

One person at the sharing session told the group: “We take it to the street because of anger at the police abuse of power, but the rage is not sustainable. It is important to be clear about what we are fighting for in order to pave the way for democracy.”

Artwork was displayed at the screenings with messages in support for the movement. Mr Choi, a 22-year-old Yuen Long resident made lightboxes using boxes and LED light strips to show posters and advertise protest schedules.

Photo: Rachel Wong/HKFP.

Choi said the work was inspired by cut-out calligraphy of protest slogans at Yuen Long’s Lennon Wall message board: “Most promotional materials are made of paper such as leaflets and posters. I hope that adding more variations in a creative form will help maintain the public’s attention about past incidents and future rallies. Our team has been displaying these boxes at various street stalls and community events.”

He and a group of friends handmade the lightboxes and attendees may take them home for free as a souvenir.

“Hongkongers, avenge. Hongkongers, resist. Heaven will strike down the Communist Party.” Posters with cut-out calligraphy on lightboxes at Yuen Long Lennon Wall. Photo: Mr Choi.

The crowd chanted slogans: “Five demands, not one less” as they left the area peacefully.

Mong Kok cordon

Meanwhile, large crowds gathered in front of a TV screen in Sai Yeung Choi Street in Mong Kok to watch the protest documentary.

Photo: Benjamin Yuen/United Social Press.

At around 9:20pm, after the movie finished, over 30 riot police officers emerged to disperse viewers as they cordoned off the area.

Photo: Benjamin Yuen/United Social Press.

InMedia reported that five people were taken away by police.

Photo: Benjamin Yuen/United Social Press.

Police officers requested citizens at the scene to show their identity cards and state their full names aloud as they filmed them, InMedia reported.

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Rachel Wong

Rachel Wong previously worked as a documentary producer and academic researcher. She has a BA in Comparative Literature and European Studies from the University of Hong Kong. She has contributed to A City Made by People and The Funambulist, and has an interest in cultural journalism and gender issues.